The U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) recorded a magnitude-4.4 earthquake located beneath Kīlauea Volcano’s south flank on Thursday, March 23, at 10:27 a.m., HST. According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, there is no tsunami threat from this earthquake. http://ptwc.weather.gov/ptwc/index.php
The earthquake, which was widely felt on the Island of Hawaiʻi, was located about 5 km (3 mi) WSW of Kaena Point and 20 km (12 mi) south of Volcano, at a depth of 5.4 km (3.4 mi). A map showing the location of the earthquake is posted on HVO’s website at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/seismic/volcweb/earthquakes/.
The USGS “Did you feel it?” website (http://earthquake.usgs.gov/data/dyfi/) received 175 felt reports within the first hour of the earthquake. The maximum intensity of shaking reported by Island of Hawaiʻi residents was III on the Mercalli Intensity Scale, indicating weak shaking.
There was one minor (M2.6) foreshock and several minor aftershocks following this morning’s magnitude-4.4 earthquake.
Kīlauea’s south flank has been the site of 29 earthquakes of magnitude-4.0 or greater during the past 25 years. Most are caused by abrupt motion of the volcano’s south flank, which moves to the southeast over the oceanic crust as a result of magma being injected into the East Rift Zone. The location, depth, and waveforms recorded as part of today’s earthquake are all consistent with slip along or above this south flank fault.
According to HVO Scientist-in-Charge Christina Neal the earthquake had no apparent effect on Kīlauea Volcano’s ongoing eruptions. “HVO monitoring networks have not detected any significant changes in activity at the summit or along the rift zones of Kīlauea or at other Hawaiian volcanoes resulting from the earthquake.”
For more information on recent earthquakes in Hawaiʻi and eruption updates, visit the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website at hvo.wr.usgs.gov.